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Report | Exiles defeated by Man United in FA Cup

28 January 2024

Club News

Report | Exiles defeated by Man United in FA Cup

28 January 2024

Newport County’s journey in the Emirates FA Cup ended in the Fourth Round as Manchester United claimed a 4-2 victory at Rodney Parade on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Devils took firm advantage in the tie early on as goals from Bruno Fernandes and Kobbie Mainoo saw them lead inside twelve minutes. A late first-half strike from Bryn Morris kept the game alive before Will Evans equalised for County just minutes after the restart.

But despite a late comeback from the Exiles, two late finishes from Antony and Rasmus Højlund were enough to book their place in the next round of the world’s oldest domestic cup competition.

Manager Graham Coughlan named an unchanged side to the one that defeated Wrexham last weekend, with Aaron Wildig, Harry Charsley and Seb Palmer-Houlden all retaining their places in the starting XI.

Scot Bennett made his 350th appearance for the Exiles, while Offrande Zanzala made his long-awaited return from injury to feature on the bench.

It was the visitors who made an assertive start to proceedings in South Wales, calving out the game’s first real opportunity inside two minutes. Fernandes played in Alejandro Garnacho down the far right, with the winger cutting inside and firing an effort just wide of Nick Townsend’s net.

Looking to build on their early pressure, the Red Devils made their breakthrough just four minutes later. A slick counter-attacking move saw Luke Shaw feed through Garnacho before he teed up Fernandes, who then fired home a thunderous effort to beat the outstretched Townsend.

The away side doubled their lead inside the first twelve minutes. Diogo Dalot worked space well down the right before squaring a lovely ball to the feet of Mainoo; he showed great skill to guide a neat finish into the far corner.

The next opportunity fell the way of Erik ten Hag’s men just seconds later. After County lost possession high up the field, Fernandes found the on-running Garncho in behind the Exile’s defence with the forward diverting a strike off the inside of the crossbar.

The closest the Exiles came in the contest was midway through the first half. Shane McLoughlin’s deep cross found Will Evans inside the box. The club’s leading goalscorer spun his man brilliantly but could only sting the hands of United debutant Altay Bayindir.

As the home side grew into the contest, Rodney Parade erupted in the 36th minute when the Exiles halved the deficit in extraordinary fashion. With the ball dropping to the feet of Morris on the edge of the box, his trademark volley found its way into the far corner.

Half Time

The Exiles made a dream start to the second period, netting an equalising goal in the 48th minute. Adam Lewis’ low cross at the near post was swept home by the arriving Evans to net his 19th goal in all competitions.

Roared on by an incredible atmosphere in Newport, the Exiles pushed to take the lead for the first time in the contest. Lewis again found space to deliver a cross from the left which found Ryan Delaney at the far post, though he could only force a comfortable save from Bayindir.

Against the run of play, United struck back and re-took the lead in the 68th minute. Shaw showed good trickery inside the box curling a cool effort off the outside of the post, before Antony stabbed home the rebound at the back post.

With just over ten minutes of the game remaining Coughlan deployed a triple change as Kiban Rai, James Waite and Matt Baker all entered the dray in search of another historic equalising goal. They had a glimpse of doing that seconds from the restart.

Palmer-Houlden found time and space in behind trying to catch out the advancing Bayindir with an early effort, but the offside flag denied the Bristol City loanee.

As the game entered into the final few stages, the Exiles continued to push for a late leveller. Evans, facing his boyhood club, came close to drawing the side's level with a long-range strike from distance whistling just wide of the post.

In injury time, the Red Devils snatched a fourth goal against the run of play, as Townsend denied Højlund from close range before the forward stubbed home the rebound to seal passage into the Fifth Round.

Newport County: Townsend, Delaney (C), Clarke, Bennett (Baker 78’), Lewis (Payne 68’), McLoughlin, Morris, Charsley (Waite 78’), Wildig (Rai 78’), Evans, Palmer-Houlden (Wood 90+6’).

Substitutes: Maxted, Bondswell, Jameson, Zanzala.

Manchester United: Bayindir; Dalot, Varane, Martinez (Maguire 88’), Shaw (Kambwala 81’); Casemiro (McTominay 81’), Mainoo; Antony (Forson 88’), Fernandes (C), Garnacho; Hojlund.

Substitutes: Heaton, Evans, Eriksen, Amad, Pellistri.

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